Swarajya and Shantharam have presented his qualifications as being those of a scientist, however his marked reluctance to confront the substance of the points I raised in "Let’s be honest about GM crops" is typical of supporters of the bio-technology industry. Such supporters do science a disservice by refusing to, or side-stepping with name-calling (Shantharam's sorry tactic with my article), the issues. Another tactic, seen in his reply, is to refer vaguely to reports from Europe or the USA and claim to the reader that these are all for GM.
This is misrepresentation, which the bio-technology and genetic engineering industry has become well versed at. While in his article he has mentioned "two gigantic reports of GM safety research funded by the EU for more than 25 years", the two reports are not named. It is possible that one of these is 'Research on GM foods', which was commissioned by the European Union (EU) and is often claimed by the bio-tech industry and GM supporters as having concluded that GM foods are safe. Not at all, because most of this research project was not designed to examine the safety of specific GM foods and that is why conclusions about their alleged safety from the report do not arise. Studies show that GM foods can be toxic, allergenic, or have unintended nutritional changes. Prof C. Vyvyan Howard, a medically qualified toxicopathologist based at the University of Ulster and a signatory to the statement, said: “A substantial number of studies suggest that GM crops and foods can be toxic or allergenic.”
These 750 studies, the Brazilian scientists have said, provide "irrefutable evidence" for the lack of consensus among scientists about GM crops. Their compilation has directly called out the falsehood spread by the bio-technology industry - including the producers of GM seeds - that there is no science-based debate about the public health and environmental risks of GM seed and crop. The references presented in the Brazilian compilation correspond to studies published by scientists and independent researchers in journals.
Close on the heels of this report by the Brazilian Government, on January 24th, 2017, the UN rapporteur condemned the assertion promoted by the agrochemical industry that the intensification, high input agriculture was needed to feed the world. The report is critical of the oligopoly of the chemical industry and the powers they wield. Three powerful corporations: Monsanto and Bayer, Dow and Dupont, and Syngenta and ChemChina control almost 61% of commercial seed sales . They wield such powers that they influence policy makers, act as obstructionists, influence regulators and often contest scientific evidence of the hazards related to their products. Further they ignore all counter opinions from the scientific world - they are very quick to dismiss any research that is contradictory to their agenda – this is anything but science. To make it worse ,scientists who uncover health and environmental risks to the detriment of corporate interests may face grave threats to their reputations, and even to themselves.